The Short Answer
A lot goes into determining the total price of a modular home; factors such as the cost of transportation and assembly are often overlooked.
Over the past twenty years, modular homes have become one of the most sought-after options for host sharing and Airbnb owners, those seeking to add a guest house or additional space on their property, and investors searching for an attractive return.
Tiny Homes, in particular, have become well known in the Airbnb and host share industry for being more cost-effective and better constructed than most stick-built homes while taking advantage of innovative materials and design to reduce energy usage.
However, there are specific costs to consider when purchasing a modular structure, and many of them are not associated with typical homeownership. Investors can find themselves unprepared for the total price of buying and assembling a modular, although the expenses are still expected to be lower than the average, traditionally built home.
Here, we will provide a breakdown of the costs of buying and building a modular home. More specific quotes can be found by contacting us.
Transportation of Prefab Home Segments
Remember, when you buy a modular, the product does not arrive in its entirely constructed condition. These structures are built-in separate segments, transported to a destination, then wholly fabricated. Assembly is typically a separate charge, and the ‘cost of transportation can strictly refer to delivering the pre-assembled segments to the location and nothing more. Rarely do builders charge a flat fee, but instead, per mile and distance. Generally, transportation costs will range between $5,500 to $16,000 for delivery to a site within 100 miles.
Common materials used for modular homes include concrete, wood, glass, steel, and recycled materials. For a higher level of customization, we at Turn Key Fabrication design prefabs that suit the buyer’s exact needs. The direct costs of building materials are included in the initial purchasing price, ranging from $100 to $150 per square foot.
Other options and upgrades can be chosen through the manufacturer for an added fee, depending on availability, amount and type of material used, popularity, and how they affect the overall design.
However, the installation of higher-end or more energy-efficient materials can pay off through added long-term value. Often, the material in the home can be the deciding factor when considering selling or renting the property.
We use SIP paneling to maximize both energy efficiency and ease of assembly. To learn more about our innovative SIP panels, click here.
General Cost of Assembly
When assessing the price of a modular home, the cost of assembly is often overlooked. Typically, installing a prefab home is not a project to be taken lightly and should only be performed by professionals with prior experience assembling these buildings. At Turn Key Fabrication, we are proud to say that our modular structures can be constructed in under 24 hours by the average person. We do this to save money on overhead. Consider:
- The process of “buttoning up” will include installing internal and external fixtures such as siding, windows, and doors, but will vary depending on the features of the structure. Assembly costs usually float between $20,000 and $60,000, depending on the contractors and labor required.
- Occasionally, buyers experienced in construction choose to have their modulars delivered without some of the finishes, allowing them to do tasks such as sheet rocking or flooring, themselves. The added time, tools and labor should be factored into the overall price.
- The average cost of assembly for a small structure will start around $25,000 to $30,000. Further extensions such as decks, garages, patios, or outdoor kitchens can also vary widely in price, although estimates range from $7,500 to $50,000.
HVAC, Electrical and Plumbing
The fees associated with installing HVAC, electrical, and plumbing to prefabricated structures can sometimes be included with assembly costs, depending on the contractor. Other times, builders will subcontract these tasks to ensure their completion. Utility construction can take up a significant portion of the budget, ranging from $3,000 to $20,000. Public works building such as sewer systems or water wells can be at the discretion of the city or county the home is in.
These charges can be offset for the owner through the efficiency of the house’s construction. Seams can be tighter, windows and doors can be more energy-efficient and better fit their positions. Even the quality of material used for roofing (such as SIP panels) can significantly reduce energy costs during higher use seasons throughout the year.
A few other factors go into determining the price of a modular home. Many tiny houses are built on wheels, but many others are placed on a parcel of land. Lot and land prices vary wildly depending on location and natural features, and something as small as a county or state border can add or subtract serious capital. Aside from this, the land must be prepared for use (excavated, flattened, etc.), ranging from $2,500 to $5,500.
Beyond land prep, permits and fees of incorporating a new structure range from $5,000 to $10,000. Buyers can also choose to place the home on a foundation to ensure future positioning, which is a specialized construction that can range from $4,500 to $12,000 depending on the size of the building.
You must be asking your builder the right questions. Keep a running note on your phone or paper when you think of something new to ask.
Answering Specific Questions
Building a modular home is not always a straightforward task, and some custom models can cost just as much as traditionally made homes. Despite this, prefabs remain a popular option due to their versatility and customizability. With the continual inflation of the market and the demand for both housing and rentals across the country, an investment in a prefab structure or room can pay off very well, very fast.
Turn Key Fabrication takes pride in the ingenuity and quality of their Tiny Homes and Tiny Rooms, hyper-focusing on excellent construction and high-quality materials specific to your needs.
Our modular homes can be used immediately upon delivery as a free-standing rental or an addition to an existing property, allowing the owner much flexibility. Learn more about what we do who we are, or contact us with any questions you have about our Tiny Homes and rooms.